Using a smart thermostat isn’t just smart for spending less on heating costs. It can also let you know if there’s an issue with your furnace.
The Google Nest is equipped with a feature called Furnace Heads Up, which will let you know if it detects a problem with your heating system. You’ll see the alert on the thermostat, in the app and in your monthly Nest Home report.
One of the most frequent problems is: “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating.” Here’s what's doing on and how you can fix it.
Your Furnace is Short Cycling
When you see the message “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” that means your furnace is short cycling. Short cycling is when the furnace turns on for a brief period of time then turns off. This HVAC game of red light, green light prevents your home from heating up and can drive up your energy bill. It can also increase wear and tear on your furnace. It may also be more likely to break down and may even need to be replaced sooner.
Without Furnace Heads Up, you might not notice your furnace is turning on and off often, since its blower fan might keep going. This feature can detect power interruptions that happen during short cycling.
How Do I Keep My Furnace from Short Cycling?
There are a few simple ways you can keep your furnace from short cycling.
Change Your Air Filter Regularly
If your air filter is too dirty, it will limit airflow. Your furnace will then shut down early to prevent overheating. We recommend changing flat filters every month, and pleated filters every three months. It’s easy to stay on top of replacing your filter by setting up a Filter Reminder on your thermostat.
If you’ve changed your filter after getting a Furnace Heads Up alert, you can do a test to see if that repairs the problem.
- Push the ring to bring up the Quick View menu, where you’ll choose "settings" and then "equipment."
- The thermostat will display the wires connected to it. Select "continue."
- You’ll see system components displayed. Select "test."
- Choose "Furnace Heads Up" and follow the instructions. Your furnace will go through a 15-minute heating check and tell you the results when it’s finished.
Google says if the filter is clean or if your furnace didn’t clear the test, something else could be wrong that requires professional help. If this happens, call Stevenson Service Experts at 614-334-3192 for furnace repair.
Clean or Replace Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor
Having a dirty or bad flame sensor is another top explanation why your furnace is short cycling. You can tell if there’s a problem by watching your furnace as it starts up. Here’s what to look for.
- Remove the door from your furnace so you can look at the burners. If you have a viewport in the furnace door, you may not need to remove the door for this.
- Switch on the furnace by setting the thermostat to a higher indoor temperature.
- When you turn on the heat, the fan will begin running first. You should hear it turn on.
- The ignitor will begin to glow. The ignitor is either on the left or right of the burners, but it varies according to the furnace model.
- Once the ignitor is warm enough, the gas will turn on and the burners will light.
- If the flame sensor can’t sense a flame, it’s usually due to the fact it’s dirty or faulty. Your furnace will then shut off as a safety measure. If your furnace is short cycling, you'll notice the flame and fan shutting down after a couple of seconds.
If you’re wondering how flame sensors could get dirty being bathed in fire continuously, a blend of moisture and chemicals in the air form a thin layer of carbon on the surface. Cleaning a dirty flame sensor will end the short cycling issue. This task is best left to an Expert. That's due to the fact an HVAC professional like Stevenson Service Experts will be able to clean it without breaking it or be able to tell you if you need a new one.
Check Your Furnace’s Exhaust Pipe Often
Your high-efficiency furnace exhausts combustion gases outside through a PVC pipe. This pipe can get clogged by snow or bird nests, so you’ll want to make sure it’s always clear. If the pipe gets blocked, it can cause your furnace to overheat. It could also result in carbon monoxide flowing back into your home, creating a potentially life-threatening situation.
However, modern furnaces have a pressure switch that generally will stop these situations from happening. Families with young children will often find their kids have jammed toy cars, sticks or nuts into the exhaust if it’s in an area that can be reached by little hands. Even this small amount is enough to trip the pressure switch. The irregular flow of air into and out of the system triggers the pressure switch, which shuts off the burners. If this is the underlying cause of your problem, you will encounter short cycling and a furnace error code specifying the pressure switch was triggered.
An Expert HVAC technician from Stevenson Service Experts can check the codes for you and diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, Nest has not developed to the point where it can read the error codes furnace manufacturers produce, so you will still need a pro to assist you.
Let the Experts Solve Your Short Cycling Furnace
If you receive the message, “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” you know what to do. At Stevenson Service Experts, our Experts have the knowledge to fix any furnace problem quickly and affordably. What’s even better is that we back our repairs with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for one year.* To request your appointment, contact us at 614-334-3192 or schedule online.
*Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.